Oregon Bach Festival Halls

The Oregon Bach Festival will offer the world premiere of a commissioned piece, Requiem, by the celebrated Scottish composer Sir James MacMillan. The concert will be held July 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hult Center’s Silva Concert Hall. Artistic Director Matthew Halls, who will conduct the piece, says that offering the first performance of a major new work is an exciting opportunity for the musicians, but also a special challenge.

“Performing a piece for the very first time brings musicians even closer together in a heightened spirit of collaboration,” says Halls. “We’re all searching for the meaning of the work and responding to the interpretative challenges that arise during the rehearsal period. There are no recordings to brush up on. We have to open our ears and listen in a different way as we explore and discover the secrets that lie deep within the heart of the work.”

MacMillan, who will be in residence during the festival, has worked as a composer and conductor with such prominent orchestras as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Philharmonic. MacMillan’s music is deeply influenced by traditional Scottish music. When the Scottish Parliament reconvened in 1999 after 292 years, a fanfare by MacMillan was played to accompany the queen into the chamber. Halls says listeners will be able to hear traces of that Scottish background in MacMillan’s Requiem.

“There is very often a distinctly—and incredibly beautiful—Scottish flavor to his musical language,” Halls says. “Pipe tunes, Scotch snaps, and other such ‘exotic’ colorings are never far below the surface of his incredible orchestral and choral soundscapes.”

The Oregon Bach Festival runs June 23–July 10. The festival’s diverse offerings include performances by the Punch Brothers, events for kids, and performances of masterworks by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and—wait for it—Bach.

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Divisi ESPN

Divisi, the UO’s all-female singing group, made it to the 2016  finals of the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella in New York City. The ensemble was one of 10 groups to reach the finals of a competition with more than 600 entries. They are the first all-female group to reach the finals since 2011. Divisi was the inspiration for the book and movie Pitch Perfect and one of the group’s arrangements was featured on the television hit Glee.

Students Ava Jamerson and Beth Baer will receive $20,000 David L. Boren Fellowships to study abroad. Jamerson will attend the Nanjing Chinese Flagship Center in Nanjing and Baer will attend Japan Women’s University in Tokyo. Boren Fellowships help students acquire language skills and experience critical to the future security and stability of the United States. Recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least a year.

The UO will start the 2016–17 academic year with several new deans and vice presidents, bringing a wealth of fresh energy and depth of experience to the university. The new vice president for research and innovation is David Conover. He previously held a similar position at Stony Brook University in New York State. Juan-Carlos Molleda has been named dean of the School of Journalism and Communications. He arrives from the University of Florida, where he chaired the Department of Public Relations. Taking the helm as dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts is Christoph Lindner. He has been a professor of media and culture at the University of Amsterdam. Andrew Marcus was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He previously served as interim dean. At press time, a new dean of Lundquist College of Business had not yet been named.

Jane Sander Softball Stadium

The UO softball team began play this spring in Jane Sanders Stadium, a $17.2 million facility funded largely by a lead gift from Bob Sanders, BS ’51, to honor his late wife Jane, BS ’50. So far, the Ducks are thriving in their new digs, drawing capacity crowds to the 2,500-seat ballpark, and continuing to be ranked among the top teams in the country.

A new interdisciplinary minor and graduate specialization in disability studies is planned for fall 2017.

Operating out of the College of Arts and Sciences, the program will include courses from architecture, English literature, law, education, gender studies, anthropology, geography, international studies, and arts and administration in an effort to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the social, historical, and political framing of disability. “For students with disabilities, it’s crucial to have their histories, cultures, experiences, voices, and viewpoints given pride of place at the university,” says associate professor of English Elizabeth Wheeler. “These degrees will prepare students for the many kinds of disability-related careers that are expanding with the aging US population and the growth of technology. They can lead to careers in product and interior design, adaptive computing, arts and recreation, family and senior services, along with many other areas.”

Leslie Leve

A new study, published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry, shows that positive interactions with parents can determine whether or not an at-risk child develops conduct disorders. “Even when a child has inherited a very challenging set of behaviors, hearing ‘good job’ or receiving a pat on the back can help protect that child from developing serious problems,” said UO professor Leslie Leve, a coauthor on the study and a professor in the College of Education.

Schill Investiture campus news summer 2016

The university medallion and mace, the official symbols of the University of Oregon, will formally pass into the hands of Michael H. Schill on June 1, when campus marks the investiture of its 18th president.

The ceremony will take place at 2:00 p.m. in Matthew Knight Arena. The entire community is invited, and a reception will follow in the Lee Barlow Giustina Ballroom and Donald R. Barker Courtyard at the Ford Alumni Center.

“We will be celebrating our president’s successful first year, as much as formally installing him into the position,” says Chuck Lillis, chair of the University of Oregon Board of Trustees. “This will also be an opportunity for Mike to reflect on his aspirations for the future of this great institution.”

Robert Kyr music

Robert Kyr, head of the composition and theory area of the School of Music and Dance, has been awarded one of the top prizes in the country in the field of music composition: the prestigious Arts and Letters Award given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The award honors outstanding artistic achievement by a composer who has arrived at his or her own artistic voice. In addition to an honorarium, the award offers funds toward music recording.

Kyr, Philip H. Knight Professor of Music, is an internationally recognized composer, writer, and filmmaker. He has composed 12 symphonies, three chamber symphonies, three violin concertos, a piano concerto, chamber music, and numerous works for vocal ensembles of all types. His music frequently focuses on themes of contemporary significance, such as peacemaking, living in harmony with nature, and spiritual themes related to love, compassion, and forgiveness.

What can tunes and the tasty treats tell us about making good experiences better?

Thousands of Velella velella, jellyfish relatives, washed ashore on Oregon beaches in April, and now are littering beaches in New Zealand.

Alumnus Edgardo Simone is a successful composer and orchestrator of Hollywood blockbusters, including the Spider-Man and Men in Black franchises